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Archive for June, 2008

As a result of a last minute conspiracy, which will be unveiled at the most opportune moment — The Beer Wench is currently sitting at the Denver Airport in route to Napa via Oakland, CA. And guess what. My flight IS F*ING delayed. Grrrrr.

After the 3 hour flight from Columbus, all The Wench could think about was a pint of beer (ok more like 5 or 6 pints) and some delicious food (ok maybe just ANY type of food). Of course, airports are not known for having the best choices for beer … or food.

And on top it of — unfortunately for me, I read a good portion of “Brewing Up A Business” by Dogfish Head founder, Sam Calgione, during the flight. I was craving craft beer like it was my job (hell … why isn’t it my job?!!!)

Lucky for The Beer Wench, Denver is a bit different than other cities. The airport actually has some good options for beer.

Some of you many have heard of this little brewery called … ummm … what was the name … OH THAT’S RIGHT. New Belgium Brewing Company … a brewery that I have coveted and blogged about a few times in the past. Super eco-friendly and sustainable. Plus, they give all their employees bicycles. IDEAL JOB. (MY resume is inthe mail … AHEM).

WELL! Let me tell you how surprised I was to find a NEW BELGIUM BAR & RESTAURANT within the Denver Airport. Of course, though, it was exactly at the OPPOSITE end of the airport from the gate that I needed to be in.

Once again, lucky for me my 2 hour lay-over turned into a 3+ hour layover. And so, I stayed as long as possible (unfortunately airports close early). As for beer, I had 2 Trippels and an Abbey Style Ale (their double). Both were delicious. I also got a sample of the 1885 on draft. Not bad, but the other Belgium styles were so much more desirable.

ABBEY Belgian Style Ale: Winner of four World Beer Cup medals and eight medals at the Great American Beer Fest, Abbey Belgian Ale is the Mark Spitz of New Belgium’s lineup – but it didn’t start out that way. When Jeff and Kim first sampled the beer at the Lyons Folks Fest, reviews were mixed at best. One of founder Jeff’s first two Belgian style homebrews (along with Fat Tire), Abbey is a Belgian dubbel (or double) brewed with six different malts and an authentic Belgian yeast strain. Abbey is bottle-conditioned, weighs in at 7.0% alcohol by volume, and pairs well with chocolate (or boldly served by itself) for dessert.

TRIPPEL Belgian Style Ale: Our Trippel Belgian Style Ale (pronounced triple) opens with a bold blast of hops that slowly gives way to the fruity esters implied by our Belgian yeast strain. The Three Graces hand-painted on the label are Zeus’s daughters Aglaia (splendor), Euphrosyne (mirth) and Thalia (good cheer). In the Belgian tradition of brewing singles, doubles and triples, Trippel is the strongest with the longest fermentation. Remarkably smooth and complex, our bottle-conditioned Trippel is spiced with a trace of coriander.

Unfortunately for New Belgium, The Beer Wench has become a rather large Belgium beer enthusiast these days. And while their beers were rather extraordinary for Belgium style American craft brews, they still did not compare to the real thing.

What can I say? I have become a Trappist Ale Whore … it happens. (To the best of us!!!)

Still, I’m looking forward to Cavalier importing New Belgium across the Ohio Border. After all, the beer is damn good and their dedication to the planet is more than noteworthy.

Cheers to New Belgium!!! Cheers to Denver!!! Cheers to the mile-high city!!!

Oh, did I mention … that I was born in Denver? It might explain a small part of my insanity!!!

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The first 100-point beer score ever given by Draft magazine was recently awarded to the Westmalle Tripel.

About Westmall Tripel

Westmalle Tripel is a clear, golden yellow Trappist beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle (9,5% alcohol). It is a complex beer with a fruity aroma and a nice nuanced hop scent. It is soft and creamy in the mouth, with a bitter touch carried by the fruity aroma. An exceptional beer, with a great deal of finesse and elegance. And with a splendid long aftertaste.

The Westmalle Tripel is indeed called the “mother of all tripels”. This type of beer was first brewed in Westmalle abbey in 1934 when the new brewing hall came into use. The current formula has stayed practically unchanged since 1956, thus more than 50 years.

Westmalle is exclusively imported in the United States from Belgium by Merchant Du Vin. The Beer Wench has located the Westmalle Tripel at both Bodega in the Short North and Grapes of Mirth in the North Market.

The Abbey of Westmalle is one of only seven Trappist breweries in the world. The monastery is located in the village of West Malle, Province of Antwerp, Belgium, and was founded in 1794. Both the Dubbel and the Tripel are considered by many tasters as the benchmarks for the style. Westmalle Dubbel was first brewed for consumption within the Abbey around 1836; Westmalle Tripel was introduced in 1934. (Source: Merchant Du Vin)

THE DEFINITION OF A TRAPIST BEER

A Trappist beer is somewhat different to an abbey beer. Out of all the beers in the world, only seven of them can use the name ‘Trappist’: Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren and Westmalle. You can recognise them from the “Authentic Trappist Product” logo.

A Trappist beer is only given this name if it satisfies a number of strict criteria:

  1. The beer is brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
  2. The brewery must be controlled by the monastery and have a business culture compatible with the monastic project.
  3. The purpose of the brewery is not to make a profit. The income takes care of the livelihood of the monks and the upkeep of the abbey site. What is left over is used for charitable purposes, social work and people in need.

The Trappist breweries produce beers of an impeccable quality that is permanently controlled. Thus a Westmalle Trappist contains 100% natural ingredients.

Trappist breweries strictly observe all standards in the areas of safety, health and consumer information. And the style of communication and advertising is one of honesty, austerity and the modesty appropriate to the religious environment in which the beers are brewed. (Source: Westmalle Abbey)

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This was a great event! Good beer, good food and good fun!!! Thanks to everyone who came out!

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THE BEER WENCH AND BRISTOL BAR BRING YOU A BELGIAN BEER BONANZA

COLUMBUS, OH June 9, 2008Bristol Bar has joined forces with local beer blogger, The Columbus Beer Wench, for an evening of Belgian beers and local pizza.

Since February 2008, The Beer Wench has been hosting informal and formal beer tastings all throughout the city of Columbus – both in local restaurants and bars as well as in local homes. Themes of the tastings vary (from board gaming to cupcake pairing), each having had a unique element — making the tasting experience distinct from other beer events.

This time around, The Beer Wench has partnered up with Bristol Bar and local DJ, DKilla, to co-host a Belgian themed beer tasting on Saturday, June 14th.

Bristol Bar invites the citizens of Columbus (as well as travelers from all around) to explore realm of Belgian beer through the eyes of The Beer Wench. The tasting will include a vertical tasting of all three Chimays – side by side – as well as samples of various other styles of Belgian Ales. Tasters will learn the distinctive nuances of the different Belgian styles, all while enjoying fresh local pizza from The Rossi.

The official tasting will take place on Saturday, June 14th from 6pm until 9pm. The event will cost $20 dollars a head and includes both the beer and the pizza. Tasters will also be offered discounts on select Belgian Ales throughout the evening as well as have the opportunity to take advantage of Bristol Bar’s outstanding Happy Hour specials.

Bristol Bar also invites the tasters to hang around after the tasting for “Saturdays at Bristol Bar,” a weekly event hosted by Scott Litch, Aaron Miller, and Dan Kilroy. “Saturdays at Bristol Bar” have become its most popular night thanks to the bar’s excellent bartenders, AMAZING music, never-ending martini creations, and talented guest DJ’s. Each week they spin the very best in downtempo, lounge, electro, house and techno. Visit http://www.squaredonline.com for the podcast, photos, text-updates, schedule, and more!

Bristol Bar Location:
At the corner of 5th and Summit St.
132 East 5th Avenue Columbus, OH 43201
Free lot-parking: Across 5th from Bristol at the Zipf Lock Shop and House of Security building.
Free street-parking: Summit + Surrounding Streets

Also check out the BRISTOL BAR BELGIAN BEER TASTING BONANZA FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE. Feel free to RSVP for the event as well as invite other guests to attend!!!


BRISTOL’S STORY
A small dream for a Columbus native became reality after a trip to the city of Bristol, England.  Located at the northern tip of Italian Village, Bristol bar opened its doors on August 22nd, 2003.  Providing an alternative to the Columbus cookie cutter bar scene, Bristol bar has quickly become know for its extensive Martini menu and unique hand crafted interior.

Bristol bar exists for you.  Relax in a comfortable, simple, sophisticated atmosphere.  Listen to the music, savor an original Martini and enjoy your friends.  Meet our mixologists and let them create the perfect cocktail to meet you mood.  Join us for a drink or two. Cheers! Prost! L’chai-im! Salut! Chin Chin!

ABOUT THE BEER WENCH
The Beer Wench is a local Columbus based beer blog written by local “foodie, wino & hophead,” Ashley Routson. With the goal of becoming more educated on the world of beer, The Beer Wench encourages readers to join in her venture towards becoming a beer connoisseur through community involvement and social media tools.

As of this February, The Wench has been hosting informal beer tastings with local citizens at a various local establishments.  The “Drink With The Wench” events have been successfully bridging the gap between the interactive realm and the real world Columbus community. She is a tremendous advocate of supporting the local economy by eating and drinking locally.


ABOUT SQUARED

Established in 2001, Scott Litch a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design, created Squared, a Columbus-based entertainment and special events company that operates both ground level and online marketing campaigns for clubs and promoters, while specializing in brand development, promotion, and multimedia design.

Since 2001, Squared has hosted events for Columbus nightspots including Mekka, Redzone, Fabric, Virus, Carlile Club, Lotus Ultralounge, Mynt, and Bristol Bar. Squared has also worked with Columbus Alive, CD101, Melt Magazine, Scion, EMI Music, Dr. Mojoe, Milk Bar, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Disco Productions, Mythodic, Entune, and Blubuni to produce events in the greater Columbus area.

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A enormous THANK YOU goes out to everyone involved in the Surly Girl Beer Tasting With The Wench this past Sunday June 8th. The event had a surprisingly huge turnout and I was able to meet a lot of new beer lovers, beer geeks and hopheads. I was EXTREMELY impressed by Surly Girl Saloon‘s hospitality as well as the outstanding quality of beer, cupcakes and cheese that was provided for the tasting. The Surly Girl Staff was MORE THAN accomodating and made the experience very memorable and special. Andy Woelfing from Premium Beverage Supply did an amazing job running the tasting and I’m extremely jealous of those who won the Green Flash Brewing Company Beers.

I was completely blown away by the beer knowledge and interest of the tasters. Tasters ranged from beer afficiandos to home brewers to regular Joes who just love beer and want to learn more about it. I’m extremely excited to engage further with all the new people I met last night as well as looking forward to more people coming out of the woodwork for future tastings.

To finish things up, I want to highlight some key people that made the event so amazing. A HUGE thanks goes to Carmen, Managing Partner and General Manager of Surly Girl Saloon. If it was not for her superior organization skills and crazy cupcake idea, this event would never have been possible. MANY thanks to Andy from Premium for busting his butt back from New York to make it on time to run the event. There is no way I would have been able to run as successful a tasting without his beer knowledge and insight. BIG PROPS goes out to super duper Surly Girl baker Lara, who concocted the ridiculously delicious cupcake recipes specifically designed for the tasting. THANKS to all the bar and kitchen staff from Surly Girl Saloon who worked long and hard in ridiculous heat to help everything move so smoothly!!!

Last BUT NOT LEAST, thank you to everyone who came to the event. There is nothing I enjoy more than sharing my passions with others. There is more to eating and drinking than merely eating an drinking. Enjoying great food and beer with equally great people makes the experience twenty times better than when done alone.

(And special thanks to everyone who allowed me to indulge my passion for gaming by staying around after the tasting to play a few rounds of Apples to Apples. Expect more board gaming beer events in the future!!!)

Check out the photos on Facebook! (Unfortunately, I was too busy running around that I never got a good chance to take photos. If anyone has any pictures from the event … please email them to me so I can post them!!!

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While I was out in Chicago for the 2008 National Restaurant Association Show, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to attend the first NRA Wine, Spirits & Beer Event.

One of the beer exhibitors was non other than New Belgium Brewing Company — one of the most unique and environmetally friendly craft brewing companies in the United States. Back in March, I wrote a special St. Patty’s day about “the real green beer,” which highlighted sustainable and environmentally conscientious brewing companies. The most impressive, in my eyes, was New Belgium.

New Belgium is infamous on the West Coast for its Fat Tire Amber Ale.

Fat Tire Amber Ale: “Named in honor of our founder Jeff’s bike trip through Belgium, Fat Tire Amber Ale marks a turning point in the young electrical engineer’s home brewing. Belgian beers use a far broader pallet of ingredients (fruits, spices, esoteric yeast strains) than German or English styles. Jeff found the Belgian approach freeing.”

Unfortunately, New Belgium is not currently available in Ohio. HOWEVER — The Beer Wench did receive notice in Chicago that New Belgium would be expanding into Ohio in the near future. Cavalier is the distributor that will be importing the beer across the border. CHEERS TO THAT!!!

True to its name, New Belgium has an awesome list of Belgium Ales that I am just dying to try. Here are a few that particularly interest me:

ABBEY Belgian Style Ale: Winner of four World Beer Cup medals and eight medals at the Great American Beer Fest, Abbey Belgian Ale is the Mark Spitz of New Belgium’s lineup – but it didn’t start out that way. When Jeff and Kim first sampled the beer at the Lyons Folks Fest, reviews were mixed at best. One of founder Jeff’s first two Belgian style homebrews (along with Fat Tire), Abbey is a Belgian dubbel (or double) brewed with six different malts and an authentic Belgian yeast strain. Abbey is bottle-conditioned, weighs in at 7.0% alcohol by volume, and pairs well with chocolate (or boldly served by itself) for dessert.

TRIPPEL Belgian Style Ale: Our Trippel Belgian Style Ale (pronounced triple) opens with a bold blast of hops that slowly gives way to the fruity esters implied by our Belgian yeast strain. The Three Graces hand-painted on the label are Zeus’s daughters Aglaia (splendor), Euphrosyne (mirth) and Thalia (good cheer). In the Belgian tradition of brewing singles, doubles and triples, Trippel is the strongest with the longest fermentation. Remarkably smooth and complex, our bottle-conditioned Trippel is spiced with a trace of coriander.

ABOUT NEW BELGIUM BREWING COMPANY

Our Story.

We’ll set the scene.

1989. Belgium. Boy on bike. (Ok, make that a young man of 32).

As our aspiring young homebrewer rides his mountain bike with “fat tires” through European villages famous for beer, New Belgium Brewing Company was but a glimmer in his eye. Or basement. For Jeff Lebesch would return to Fort Collins with a handful of ingredients and an imagination full of recipes.

And then there was beer.

Jeff’s first two basement-brewed creations? A brown dubbel with earthy undertones named Abbey and a remarkably well-balanced amber he named Fat Tire. To say the rest was history would be to overlook his wife’s involvement. Kim Jordan was New Belgium’s first bottler, sales rep, distributor, marketer and financial planner.

And now, she’s our CEO.

Electrical engineer meets social worker; ideals flourish

The other side of the New Belgium story isn’t as romantic as bicycling through Europe, but it gives testament to our dedication and hard work. And it goes like this: Jeff, an electrical engineer by day and tinkerer by nature, builds a homebrewing kit in his basement out of repurposed dairy equipment. His Belgian inspired brews garnered enough praise from friends and neighbors that Jeff and Kim take their basement brewery commercial in 1991.

Kim, social worker by day and mother to two always, began the marketing process by knocking on their neighbor’s door. Anne Fitch was that neighbor and her watercolors are the artwork we continue to use on our labels today. With labeled bottles and local encouragement, the first Belgian-style beers brewed in the United States were officially for sale.
What else continues today? The ideals that Kim and Jeff built New Belgium Brewing Company on, from their basement operation to our first brewery in a railroad depot to our current sustainable home on 50 acres.

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A friend and fellow beer geek has recently passed on some rather valuable information. Green Flash Brewing Company will be available in Ohio by the end of this week! I absolutely adore the marketing this brewery does. It is right in line will the marketing done in the craft beer industry — sophisticated humor, originality and fun graphics.

The West Coast IPA was just votedthe 2008 National Brewing News IPA Champion.

West Coast I.P.A. - This West Coast-Style India Pale Ale is extravagantly hopped, full flavored, medium bodied and copper colored. A menagerie of hops is combined throughout the brewing process to impart specific characteristics. Hops used include Simcoe for a unique fruitiness and grapefruit zest, Columbus for strong hop pungency, Centennial for pine and citrus notes, and Cascade for floral aroma.

Other styles include the Hop Head Red Ale, Imperial IPA, Double Stout, Trippel Belgian Style Ale, Barleywine Style Ale, Extra Pale Ale and Nut Brown Ale. Lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!!!

Here are some tasty tid bits from the website:

What’s a Green Flash

Green flashes are real phenomena seen at sunrise and sunset, when part of the sun suddenly changes color.

Green flashes usually are brief, lasting only one or two seconds.

Green flashes do not always light up the sky, but are often small and inconspicuous.

To see green flashes, you must be in the right place. An ocean horizon can often provide optimum green flash viewing conditions.

To see green flashes, the air should be reasonably clear.

To see green flashes you should use an optical aid, such as binoculars.

For more info on green flashes go to: http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/

We hope you will be fortunate enough to see a Green Flash. We know you will have fun trying! Why not take along some Green Flash Brewing Co. Extra Pale Ale on your adventure?

CHEERS!!! I will let you know where I find it, when I find it! Also, please let me know where you all find it!!!

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